Closing Time, Spring Training Comes to an End.

As I drove to the Carpenter Complex Closing Time by Semisonic was playing in my mind. Especially the following:

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from
Closing time
This room won’t be open till your brothers or your sisters come
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

The end of Spring Training is always bittersweet. Some of the guys get promoted and that’s always amazing, some of the guys are held at the same level as the year before and sadly, a few are given their outright release. For me, the releases are especially hard. I’ve known some of these players 6, 7, 8 years and have grown fond of them and to see their dream end always makes a little piece of my heart die.

This year, it was the release of Perci Garner that broke my heart. I’ve known Perci since his days here in Clearwater. I got to know his beautiful son as he spent time around the Complex this spring. When he was released, it hit close to home.

I was also stunned by the release of Kyle Bogese. 24-year old Kyle Bogese was one of my favorite stories of the last year. Bogese, a Trinity University Alumni, went undrafted. He appeared at a “walk-on” tryout held in Williamsport and pitched himself into a contract. I thought that he had been doing rather well considering his short time with the team, however, he was released at the same time as Garner.

It is my hope that they can be picked up by another team looking for pitching, even if it is in independent ball. That’s what happened to Jiwan James. James, an outfielder, was released at the end of last season by the Phillies after spending considerable time on the DL in Reading after abdominal surgery. James first signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent team, before signing with the Detroit Tigers. As of today, he has yet to be assigned to a team within their organization.

While I was able to talk to my friends and I know where they are headed, there has been no official rosters released as of when this blog was posted, so I’ll have to wait for that. I’m glad that my friends seem to be ok with whatever their lot was and they all realize that a lot of changes happen in the first month or so of the season as some players’ dreams will end as they cannot play at the level they are assigned, some are injured, some players over perform and get promoted.

Personally, I think that with the large number of older pitchers that were picked up in the off-season, there may be a few that do not measure up or become injured which will allow some promotion of the younger pitchers. It’s inevitable and I know that those younger players are hungry to progress.

That’s why I try to focus on the last line of the section of Semisonic’s “Closing Time”… Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…

spring training closed

Advertisements

It’s All About the Pitching

Today Cliff Lee hit the mound for the first time since his injury last season.

Cliff Lee hits the mound for the first time since his injury
Cliff Lee hits the mound for the first time since his injury

Lee looked mostly like his “Old Self” and didn’t show any signs of discomfort, though he did not pitch very long.

It got me to thinking about the machinations that a pitcher goes through just to throw a pitch. Just look at Kenny Giles’ body position in the picture below:

Kenny Giles
Kenny Giles

Now, while that may look painful to the “Average Joe”, it works for Giles. How many other guys can hit 100? They don’t call him “Hundred Miles Giles” for nothing.

As I was running an errand between MLB and MiLB workouts, I got to thinking about injuries to pitchers and the stresses that their bodies must go through because of the force needed to throw. So when I got back to the field, I decided to film two pitchers in slow motion just to get a better idea of what might be happening. (I plan on trying this the next time I see Giles.)

This is former Thresher Perci Garner. I also filmed Kyle Bogese.

Edited to add: If you have headphones, turn up the sound on the videos…the crack of the ball smacking the mitt is astounding.

Bogese is an interesting story himself. This Trinity University graduate was discovered in a walk on try out last summer and came to Clearwater late for the Gulf Coast League. He was only one of four players that were found that way. Trinity’s story on Bogese claims he can throw at 97 mph. I can’t verify that as there are no public speed guns at the Carpenter complex.

If you study the slow motion video, you can get a little better feel of the force placed on areas such as the elbow or wrist. I thought it was interesting.

Upcoming Event: On Friday I will be talking with Jay Floyd of Phoulballz.com on his podcast at 1 p.m. (est). You can find his podcast here.